Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Ipsy Review October 2017

Ipsy is a $10 a month subscription that includes 5 beauty, haircare, skincare or fragrance samples and an exclusive bag each month. Samples range from your basic sample size, deluxe size and sometimes full sized and you can see anything from drugstore and indie brands to department store/high end. After doing a quick tally last night I realized I've received at least one full sized product every month since I first subscribed in April 2016.
Image courtesy of  Ipsy
This month  I received:
Urban Decay 24/7 Glide on Eye Pencil in Perversion - $13.33 Cruelty Free, Vegan
Marc Anthony Hydrating Coconut Oil & Shea Butter Oil - $4.73
Rimmel London Lasting Finish Kate Nude in #47 - $4.99 Full Sized
IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores Pressed Powder - $9.67
Skyn Iceland Arctic Relief Eye Cream - $12.86

The bag itself is gorgeous. It's the typical plastic type material I've come to know and love from Ipsy but with a modest yet beautiful textured lace design printed on it. The adorable zipper pull is also a little bat. I felt like this bag was perfect for October. I got some serious throw bag Beetlejuice vibes from the bag.

Image taken from google.com
My lighting situation is pretty awful so please excuse the stock photo of the bag nabbed from the Ipsy website.

I love the Urban Decay 24/7 Glide on Eye Pencil in Perversion. Next to the Sephora Collection waterproof eyeliner, this is the second black eyeliner I've actually fallen love with. It doesn't smear or budge and is perfect for tightlining without transferring onto my lower lid. I still had issues with my oily lids (even with primer) and smearing with this, plus the pencil format makes it difficult for me to get a precise line but that just means I'm limited to tightlining with this liner.

The Marc Anthony Hydrating Coconut Oil & Shea Butter Oil smells great but I may have spilled half the bottle in the fruit bowl containing cherry jolly ranchers one day when I was trying to wrangle the toddlers trying to get ready for a doctor's appointment. This oil works well with hydrating the tots' hair. Too bad I was dumb and wasted half of it though.

Rimmel London Lasting Finish Kate Nude in #47 ended up being a very wearable nude shade. I don't normally use bullet lipsticks but I was so excited to see that I received this in my bag this month. It is very creamy upon application and is semi-opaque. The shade is gorgeous without being too pink and the shade doesn't blend in with my lips or overall skin tone so I don't look washed out with this shade on. My favorite part about this lipstick is probably the packaging. It just looks so damned classy.

I haven't found too much use for IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores Pressed Powder. The powder itself is incredibly silky and smooth and the powder poof included makes application a breeze. I have't had much experience with this powder though because I've found that it's very easy to over apply and it isn't exactly translucent on my skin tone, especially if I cannot control my zeal when powdering. Bye Bye Pores is a great powder otherwise. It does an amazing job of countering shine and it does work well with setting my foundation. Again, the key is to use the included powder puff.

My last item this month was the Skyn Iceland Arctic Relief Eye Cream. Holy shit do I hate this eye cream. The consistency is goopy and gelatinous making it very easy to remove a small amount from the 4g container and apply it evenly around the eye area. It just has this odd, slimy marshmallow consistency and just goops around and reforms, almost, when I did through the container to try to get a tiny amount for my eyes. Product info promises a tingling, cooling feeling around the eyes and a decrease in dark circles, puffiness and fine lines. Fortunately I do not suffer from any of those signs of aging but I did not notice any cooling or tingling sensations upon application. Another point of contention with this product for me is the smell. I don't recall noticing any particular smell with my first impressions but it's now 20 days after I've received the sample and this shit smells like congealed milk in the bottom of a milk jug that has turned into a disgusting dry-ish sludge resembling cottage cheese. I've loved items that I received from Skyn Iceland in the past but this product is so god-effing awful that I may have to reassess my previous brand loyalty.

Right to left: Bye Bye Pores, Rimmel Kate Nude, Urban Decay 24/7 in Perversion
 The total value of my bag this month was $45.58. Of the items I will actually get plenty of use out of, my personal bag value was $18.32 for the Rimmel lipstick and the Urban Decay eyeliner, which still far exceeds the cost of the bag. Of all the beauty boxes I've encountered so far I would say Ipsy is the best bet for beginners in makeup or for someone wanting to build up a collection affordably. Not only are you likely to get full sized items but Ipsy is very makeup heavy and provides tips, tricks and idiot-proof suggestions for how to use products on their website. Those who are more concerned with brands or skincare would do better to subscribe to Birchbox, Sephora Play or Target Beauty Box while those more concerned with having some control over their subscription boxes would do best to deal with Birchbox alone.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Birchbox Review October 2017

Holy crap, I received this box so long ago now that I actually had to revisit the app to remember what items I received this month. For those of you not in the know, Birchbox is a $10 a month subscription service that sends 5 sample sized beauty, skincare and hair care items right to your mailbox. Subscribers have the option to choose one item in their box a month, not take any action and let all 5 items be a surprise, or choose a curated box where all items are revealed prior to selection. If you have any interest in subscribing to Birchbox, I urge you to Google some coupons or simply visit My Subscription Addiction because they always have coupon codes or gifts-with-subscription affiliate codes available.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Referral Links

Hey guys. I want to provide full disclosure for my readers (all two and a half of you who happened upon this blog probably through some porn aggregator site). After some thought I decided to not post any more referral links moving forward in my reviews. To date I only have four subscriptions: Target Beauty Box, Sephora Play, Ipsy and Birchbox. Of the four, onlyIpsy and Birchbox have referral links. Neither of those is overly useful to me: I basically refuse to buy items through the Birchbox Shop at a markup for some pretty shitty “perks” in the form of points and I really don’t see much point in trying to acquire more Ipsy points. That and I also feel like a shit dropping my referral links in posts. 

To date I have not had any affiliates nor have I had affiliate links, just those two referral links. Should I start again in the future or have enough readers (thanks, porn!) to warrant affiliate links, I will be sure to let you know. 

That said, Ipsy and Birchbox reviews coming for this month in the next couple of days. Including one surprising disappointment.

Thanks for reading. 

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Play! By Sephora Review October 2017

Play! by Sephora is a monthly subscription box that features brands available buth in store and online at sephora.com. The subscription costs $10 a month plus tax and free shipping and includes 5 samples from makeup, beauty, skincare and haircare categories and also a fragrance sample. October's theme focused on complexion. This month's items included:

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Target Beauty Box Review October 2017

Every month Target releases a beauty box of makeup, beauty and grooming items featuring brands that can be found in store and online at Target.com. The price ranges from $5-$10 and each box contains between 5 and 8 items, on average, with the occasional shade variance with the makeup item. At $7 this box sold out amazingly fast this month, it was sold out before mine arrived in the mail.

This month's box was full of wonderful items, including three full sized makeup items so it's no wonder it sold out so quickly. This month I received:

 *Not Leaping Bunny certified 

First off Raw Sugar Lemon Hand Wash smells a-may-zing! It smells like sweetened lemonade. I love that the brand is ingredient conscious and even the packaging is made of post consumer materials. My only issue I have is the nature of the packaging. It is a hand wash that is packaged like a body wash in a squeeze bottle meaning if I have to use this I have to wrap my filthy hands around the outside of the bottle. This may be re-purposed as a body wash instead.

The Masque Bar may be one of my least favorite sheet mask brands that I've ever used. Their masks are always so thick and relatively dry. Masque Bar Wrinkle Reducing Sheet Mask was no different. I understand I'm already biased in my general dislike for sheet masks but I just can't help but feel like Masque Bar masks provide even fewer benefits than other sheet masks. This rings especially true since I've actually encountered one or two sheet masks that I hated less than others in the past. In fact, in retrospect, if I were a different person with different skincare preferences, I might even say I... enjoyed them?

Elf Clear Wax Brow Pencil, the ELF product I never had any desire to really try or buy. Fortunately this one arrived when I had some crazy Jack Nicholson eyebrows going on. The right one has been torn between darting right, strafing left or cutting north toward the baby hairs. This isn't something I can see myself reaching for frequently but it's nice to have on hand in case of emergencies, say a swift gust of wind or small forehead gnomes wandering through the brush.

Thanks to beauty boxes I will likely  never need to buy shampoo for myself again-conditioner is a different story. The inclusion of Maui Moisture Shea Butter Shampoo was a pleasant one. This shampoo smells amazing and it provides a decent lather. I did not notice that my hair was any more clean than usual but then I don't really know how I would measure that metric since I can't exactly do the squaky-clean test. I do love the scent and the size of this sample, clocking in at 100mL. I was a little irritated while researching this brand though. They claim to be cruelty free and vegan on their website but nowhere did I find a Leaping Bunny seal of approval, for those of you who may care about cruelty free brands. I hope this company does try to receive that endorsement in the future if they are indeed cruelty free.

Neutrogena Nourishing Eyeliner in Brushed Pewter turned out to be a nice eyeliner shade in a smoky, charcoal almost black. The eyeliner itself comes with a sharpener (yay!) and a smudger that I will likely never use as I feel that the smoky eye look makes my eyes look beady. I also acknowledge the fact that I could avoid this problem if I learned how to properly smoke out eyeliner/shadows. The formula itself is quite creamy and there is some transfer onto the lower water line and a little smudging after application but my arm swatch remained there throughout a full 24 hours of wandering around with kids, cooking and bathing tots. It took some scrubbing the next day to remove most of the remaining arm swatch.

Rimmel Stay Matte Liquid Lip Color in Midnight ended up being the dark horse of this month's box. Target sent out shade variations this month and I got very lucky to receive this beautiful deep purple that most people would probably consider unwearable. The formula is pretty shit: it's patchy, it's streaky, it is matte while not being completely transfer proof, it begins to fade patchily within an hour and it applies poorly over any kind of balm or lip treatment. But oh my god am I willing to overlook that for this beautiful shade. It's a very deep purple that is everything that I wanted my NYX liquid lippie to be, just in a subpar formula. I wore this to work on Friday and got a few nods of approval from my fellow lab nerds. I love that it's a daring shade that isn't too off the wall or socially unacceptable *coughbluegreycough*. I really must find a similar shade in a better formula.

The L'Oreal Extraordinary Hair Rebalancing Clay Shampoo and Conditioner were underwhelming though I do appreciate Target including both items that complement each other. I was able to get a full lather out of the shampoo packet and they smelled like your typical salon products but I just did not notice any real difference in the cleanliness or moisture of my hair.

Swatches of the Neutrogena eyeliner (smudged on far left) and Rimmel lippie
Wearing the Neutrogena eyeliner, Rimmel lippie and Elf Brow Wax

The ELF Brow Wax is trying so hard here...

This was easily my favorite Target Beauty Box in recent months (perhaps since May or June) mostly due to the numerous full sized makeup items and their overall wearability. The total value comes out to about $20.74 and most of that was in the form of the three full sized makeup items.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Play! by Sephora Review September 2017

Sephora has come into the beauty box scene nearly two years ago with their own Play! by Sephora box and of the three months I've received so far I can't really complain much. The cost is $10 a month plus tax and like Birchbox and Ipsy, Sephora sends out a number of box variations each month. Unlike Ipsy and to a lesser extent Birchbox, Sephora does not have a very broad range of boxes, even though they state boxes are tailored to your personal profile you set up upon applying. What they're really saying is "We have 3-9 pre-curated boxes each month and whichever box you hit the most benchmarks for is the box you're getting." Unfortunately, this means if skin tone was rated as most important by Sephora that month than you may end up with a box that is tailored to your skin type (based off of what you fill out in the profile) but the skin type (oily/combination/dry) may be completely off. It's a gamble I'm willing to take (so far) with this box because I do love that the samples, while not the largest, are not foil packets and all samples are from brands that can be found in store or online meaning the labels range from mid-range to high-end. This month's box was one of the stronger ones. Items included:

V = Vegan
CF = Cruelty Free